NORAD Fighters respond to derelict aircraft
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — A Mooney, single engine aircraft has been intercepted by two F-16 fighters under the direction of North American Aerospace Defense Command near Muncie, Ind. today at approximately 10 a.m. EDT.
The civilian aircraft departed Grand Rapids, Mich. on a post-maintenance flight and lost communications with ground air traffic controllers. The F-16 pilots intercepting the aircraft reported the pilot is unresponsive. The aircraft is not believed to be part of any terrorist activity.
The plane is currently under escort by two F-16s and is flying generally south 60 miles northeast of Indianapolis and may be losing altitude.
The intent of military intercepts is to have the identified aircraft re-establish communications with local FAA air traffic controllers and instruct the pilot to follow air traffic controllers to land safely for further follow-on action.
NORAD's mission – in close collaboration with homeland defense, security, and law enforcement partners – is to prevent air attacks against North America, safeguard the sovereign airspaces of the United States and Canada by responding to unknown, unwanted and unauthorized air activity approaching and operating within these airspaces, and provide aerospace and maritime warning for North America. NORAD may be required to monitor, shadow, divert from flight path, direct to land and/or destroy platforms deemed a potential threat to North America.
NORAD is the bi-national Canadian and American command that is responsible for the air defense of North America and maritime warning. The command has three subordinate regional headquarters: the Alaskan NORAD Region at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska; the Canadian NORAD Region at Winnepeg, Manitoba; and the Continental NORAD Region at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. The command is poised both tactically and strategically in our nation’s capital to provide a multilayered defense to detect, deter and prevent potential threats flying over the airspace of the United States and Canada.
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